Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 389 – Why Won’t You be My Guru?
Date: March 7, 2010
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: I have an intense desire to find a guru who can kill my ego mind and
bring me to enlightenment. Can you be my guru? If not, why not?
A: By all means pursue your desire, but know that there are some pitfalls in
it. There are always pitfalls when we seek spiritual knowledge outside our
own inner silence. In time, your desire will lead you
inward, where the eternal truth lives.
Ego is just a concept, a word to describe consciousness identified with the
objects of perception. Or, as the Buddhists say, "attached" to the objects
of perception. The mind itself will not become
dead until we are dead. It goes from being a tool of identified self (small
"s") to being a tool of unidentified Self (big "S"). What becomes dead in
this life is identification of our awareness as self with all that appears
in time and space. That is not death of the mind, or even of the
"I thought" we call ego. We
just come to know it for what it is, through the increasing presence of
abiding inner silence (witness) cultivated in spiritual practices. It
is the illumination of the mind in a divine outpouring, which then can
awaken the unending joy of Oneness in time and space. It is the same
thing that has been talked about by the sages of old, and modern ones too.
It is the same experience. Only the words
describing it may be a little different.
Descriptions of "enlightenment" may be colored by culture and language, but
it is the same opening that happens in everyone when the appropriate means
are applied. AYP leads there gradually. Some claim it can be instant. I
agree that it can be instant, once one is ripe (living deep in witness), but
becoming ripe is not instant. We can play a word game by claiming that our
awakening is instant, but it is only instant when we become ripe, which
takes dedicated time in practices.
I am not a personal guru to anyone. If I become that, I cannot continue in
the role of a researcher and author on spiritual tools and their practical
application. My point of view is largely western science, and that is what
is driving my role in AYP, which is very much an "East meets West" endeavor.
The concept of personal guru is not attractive here, because it is so much
about personality cult. By now we are well familiar with the pitfalls of
that. It is not what a guru is in the ultimate sense. But in the world, that
is what gurudom is – personality cult. It has become so much
about codependent relationships, where the disciple needs the external guru,
and the guru needs the external disciple. Invariably this leads to a sense
of entitlement on both sides and a resulting
instability and loss of credibility. Then sacred knowledge suffers a
I believe that documenting a comprehensive and practical open source
knowledge-base is far more important. It will outlast all personalities, all
scandals, and reach many more people over the long term. With clear
knowledge of human spiritual transformation universally available, everyone
can know how to cultivate abiding inner silence and awaken the divine
outpouring from within themselves. Then we will have real change in the
world, instead of so many chasing after a few enlightened people in every
generation. Even with many enlightened people around, it will be up to each
individual to apply tried and true methods for their own benefit, and for
the benefit of everyone.
Whatever you may find inspiring in me (or in anyone) is, in truth, inspiring
in you, and that is where your real guru is. If you are looking for it in
your own silent depths, you are looking in the right place. If you are
looking for it outside, and holding on to it outside, it will be lacking. I
do not control where your spiritual desire (bhakti)
goes. That is up to you. I can only encourage you to internalize external
inspirations and knowledge as you move ahead. We are all rising from the
same source, Oneness, so there is never any question of an inner
connection. I see it as a collective Oneness, rather than an individual
Oneness. So who can ever be an individual guru of ultimate Oneness? No one.
There is no such thing. There are only those who can point us to the inner
Oneness that we are. The true guru is in us. See
Lesson 57 for more on this.
Which is not to say gurus are not important.
They are very important. Rightly utilized, they
are like stepping stones along our spiritual path.
Practical spiritual knowledge does not come out of a vacuum.
It has been accumulated over time. Our spiritual
desire (bhakti) is like a magnet, and knowledge
is drawn to us from our surroundings,
from everywhere, and sometimes in the form of an
external guru. We can benefit greatly from that. However, it will not be
perfect. Those who assume a perfect external guru end up disappointed.
Either that, or in denial when the imperfections become known. It is the
seeker who creates this unfortunate situation with
the expectation of perfection on the physical plane. It does not exist, even
among the enlightened. Perfection is an inner condition, not an outer one.
We may see perfection mirrored in life. But this is only
a reflection, subject to distortion at any time. It is the nature of
life. This does not mean we cannot benefit from external
gurus. We certainly can. We must gain knowledge from somewhere to move
ahead. It is about separating the wheat of knowledge from the chaff of
worldly imperfections. It can be done. See Lesson
260 for more on this.
As I have always said in these lessons, it is not about me, or any
particular teacher. That is a key element in the evolution of spiritual
knowledge in the 21st century. We are moving away from personality cults to
direct individual experience of the essential truth that is found within
each of us. We are in an accelerating transformation of human consciousness
on the earth. Practical methods for cultivating human spiritual
transformation are emerging from the shadows of the esoteric into the full
light of day. That is what AYP is about. The technology of the
information age is playing a major role in this, just as it is in many
fields. So don’t expect a traditional guru relationship from AYP. Some find
this disappointing. But, actually, you should be relieved. It is all in your
What genuine personal gurus have been about throughout history is taking on
the karma of their disciples. In other words, doing for others what they
could do for themselves if they had the determination and the means. It has
been a help in times of great need, but not enough to lift humanity out of
the darkness. Traditional gurudom continues to be a costly proposition for
both parties – a constant outflow from the guru and a constant dependency
for the disciple. To create a true spiritual paradigm shift, more
self-directed participation from everyone is needed, not more reliance on
An interesting phenomenon has been noticed in taking on the AYP global work
here in researcher/author mode. Taking on the karma of the world as a
researcher/author is pretty much the same as taking on the karma of a single
person. Little difference. Taking on the karma of the world plus the karma
of one individual person is about twice as much. So having 10 personal
disciples is a much larger task than working to spiritually empower humanity
by developing a baseline system of practices like AYP.
The only explanation I have for this is that each of us is a reflection of
the entire cosmos, like a hologram, with each part
containing the whole. So taking on the karma of one person is like taking on
the karma of the cosmos. Taking on the karma of the world in an AYP way is
also taking on the karma of the cosmos, but it is not more than the karma of
one person. This is why I said earlier, if I
become your personal guru, I will not be able to do the AYP work anymore. It
is twice as much!
For me, creating a useful body of knowledge and
the means to perpetuate it into the future is what it is about. There is not
room for personal gurudom in that. It isn't my thing anyway. I am only a
researcher and author – a technician. You are much more than that,
and I bow to you.
Collectively, through our practices, we have the ability to leverage
a vast flow of spiritual energy that
can quicken the whole of global consciousness –
far more spiritual power than any single guru
can wield. The dynamic has changed. By the
millions, spiritual practitioners of every stripe are bringing
humanity to the tipping point, simply by their presence. It is the quiet
revolution going on within. It is stillness in
The guru is in you.
For detailed instructions on the
practical utilization of spiritual desire, see the
Bhakti and Karma Yoga book.
For detailed instructions on building a
self-directed daily routine of practices, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book.